Conference to Offer International Expertise on Tackling Tree Health Threats

Sell-out Conference to Offer International Expertise on Tackling Tree Health Threats

A sold-out tree health conference in Cardiff will help professional foresters and arboriculturists tackle emerging tree health threats in the UK. Tree Health, Resilience and Sustainability, organised by the Institute of Chartered Foresters (ICF) as its 2015 National Conference, will take place 22-23 April. It will highlight the current challenges and potential future risks to the UK forestry and arboricultural sector. International case studies and presentations on technical solutions will help practitioners develop a roadmap for protecting UK trees, forests and woodlands for the benefit of future generations.

Increased Threats to UK Forests

Prof Mike Wingfield, President of IUFRO and Director of the University of Pretoria’s Forestry & Agricultural Biotechnology Institute in South Africa, and who will provide an in-depth international perspective on tree health at the conference, recently warned of the threats posed to international forestry, describing them as a ‘virtual ‘tsunami’’. He said:

“Natural forests and plantations of forest trees are increasingly threatened by insect pests and pathogens. Broadly speaking, native trees in forests are most seriously threatened. Once a serious disease caused by a pest, pathogen or a combination of these factors in symbiosis, there is little that can be done to offset the problem. Classic examples are found in Dutch elm disease and chestnut blight.

“Ironically, there are relatively fewer scientists working on pests and diseases of forest trees than was true three decades ago. If as I believe, we are fighting a virtual ‘tsunami’ in terms of declining global tree health, it is difficult to believe that funding agencies are treating this problem seriously.”

Read Prof Wingfield’s comments in full here.

Programme of International Experts

ICF’s conference programme features world-leading experts in the fields of plant biosecurity, pest and disease risk, tree resilience and sustainability. In addition to Prof Mike Wingfield, speakers include Martin Ward, Director General of the European & Mediterranean Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO), Prof Tariq Butt, Professor of Biocontrol at Swansea University, and Phil Cottle, Head of Agriculture, Pardus Underwriting Ltd. James Astill, Political Editor of The Economist and author of an award-winning special report on The World’s Forests will join as After Dinner Speaker.

Shireen Chambers FICFor, Executive Director at ICF, said:

“The Institute of Chartered Foresters is delighted to be hosting another world-class conference for forestry and arboricultural professionals, this year on the important topic of tree health. The fact that we have sold out this event over a month in advance is testament to the level of interest and concern about pests and diseases among UK foresters and arboriculturists.

“The issues under discussion, including risk management, biosecurity legislation, implications for certification, and promoting public awareness, have never been more pertinent for those working in the sector. We hope that members and other delegates will use this event to inform their working practices and to share key messages to their colleagues and the wider community.”

This event is kindly sponsored by headline sponsors Scottish Woodlands and UPM Tilhill and has support from Forestry Journal (Media Partner), Forestry Commission Corporate & Forestry Support, Forestry Commission Scotland, Natural Resources Wales, Earth Systems (R&D Poster Zone), GreenBlue Urban (delegate bags) and Deeproot Urban Solutions (conference brochure).

For full event information, visit

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